Hauls of Shame: Investigation into Ruth forgeries under way

From SABR member Peter J. Nash at Hauls of Shame on December 2, 2011:

Babe Ruth’s signature has long been the top target of skilled forgers and this past summer some low-grade fakes attributed to the Bambino made their way into the news.  Not only were the autographs bogus, so were the letters of authenticity offered with them.

Legitimate letters of authenticity issued for Ruth signatures by the two leading companies are requirements for any advanced or novice collector.  Ruth signed items with letters from James Spence Authentication (JSA) and PSA/DNA have commanded top dollar at major auction houses and on eBay.   Baseballs alleged to have been signed by Ruth have regularly sold for tens of thousands of dollars for decades and most recently have changed hands for upwards of a reported $300,000. Gem-mint, single-signed, Babe Ruth baseballs have become the most desired collectibles in the billion-dollar baseball memorabilia business.  JSA and PSA/DNA have signed off on and authenticated most all of the record breaking specimens sold at auction over the last decade.  Recent and current sales at Gem Mint Auctions, Huggins and Scott, Heritage and Lelands have also featured some Ruth blazers that are commanding big bucks.

However, industry experts, collectors and even sources at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have questioned whether the majority of these high-end beauties are worth more than the vintage baseballs they are signed upon. The most spectacular examples that have sold at auction for prices ranging between $50,000 and $100,000 are now the targets of a new investigation endorsed by Babe Ruth’s grandaughter, Linda Ruth-Tosetti.

Read the full article here: http://haulsofshame.com/blog/?p=8280

Originally published: December 2, 2011. Last Updated: December 2, 2011.